Faith and belief in healthcare chaplaincy – HCFBG Council residential meeting

HCFBG Council members

HCFBG Council returning from a visit to Llandaff Cathedral

On 23rd and 24th March members of the HCFBG Council got together at St Michael’s College, Cardiff, for a 24-hour residential meeting.

Council members – Anglican, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Catholic, Free Church, Hindu, Humanist, Jain, Jewish and Sikh – got to know each other better in a more informal setting than the regular meetings and reflected on the strategic development of the HCFBG’s work over the coming years.

In five sessions of vigorous discussion we looked at the new NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines, reviewed the processes used by the different faith & belief organisations to recruit, train and authorise their chaplaincy volunteers, considered how chaplains and chaplaincy volunteers work in and for their communities, and debated who ‘owns’ the title ‘Chaplain’.

One issue that provoked particularly lively discussion was the difficulty that some of the minority faiths face in having their chaplaincy volunteers accepted in some hospitals and Trusts.

It became clear over the 24 hours that, as the NHS continues to change, with an increasing emphasis on providing healthcare in the community, so the structure and provision of chaplaincy needs to meet new challenges, focusing on the patient journey and patient experience. The faith and belief communities will be learning how to ensure that patients who are linked to their communities have access to chaplaincy at all stages in their journey into healthcare settings and back to the community.

The meeting resulted in answers to three questions:

  1. What do we want to champion?
  2. What challenges do we face?
  3. What actions do we need to take?

Our answers to these questions will shape the work of HCFBG in the coming year.

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